We see you, Avatar 2 teaser…and you look very familiar.
Following a run as the biggest movie of all time, 2009’s Avatar somehow went from global phenomenon to being completely off the pop culture radar. Whatever initial fascination there was with the world of Pandora, the life of the Na’vi, and the near-total reliance on CGI VFX and 3D spectacle (including the lead heroes), well, it didn’t last. Now, after over a decade, the first Avatar sequel will finally hit movie theaters.
But to classify it as the “long-awaited” return to Pandora would seemingly be incorrect, which is what makes Avatar 2 — and its already locked-in follow-ups Avatar 3, 4 and 5 — one of the more intriguing tentpole prospects of the year.
Unlike mega-franchises such as Marvel, Star Wars, or even Indiana Jones, Avatar has not been a mythos that has maintained or cultivated a passionate fandom. Despite its mammoth box office haul of $760 million domestic (currently 4th all-time, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home — which earned $936.6M, $858.4M and $804.6M respectively) and $2.85 billion worldwide (still the global reigning champ; Avengers: Endgame is close behind at $2.8 billion), nobody’s been clamoring for a sequel.
But when you’ve made that much money and your creative guru is an obsessive visionary like James Cameron, well, there’s going to be sequels — and on Cameron’s own schedule, no less.
The first of those next chapters is Avatar: The Way of Water, which dropped its first look teaser exclusively in theaters in front of Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness during its opening weekend. Now it’s available online for all the world to see, and it’s pretty much what you’d expect.
The visuals don’t even look particularly advanced compared to the 2009 original. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially considering how groundbreaking Avatar was at the time, but the potential downside is that it will still feel like we’re in a fake world more than a real one. Nevertheless, if the story, characters, ideas and adventure all work, then digital fakery won’t be an issue.
We’ll get more looks, no doubt, with more plot details between now and the end of the year when Avatar 2 opens.
Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephen Lang, and Sigourney Weaver all return, and joining them will be Kate Winslet (reuniting with Cameron on the 25th Anniversary of Titanic, no less), Michelle Yeoh, Jemaine Clement, and Edie Falco.
Looking to dominate the holiday box office, Avatar: The Way of Water opens worldwide on December 16, 2022.
Click on any image for larger gallery